For the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium Sunday, they needed to play close to a perfect game. Unfortunately, they were far from perfect. Philadelphia turned the ball over three times, leading to 14 points for Tampa Bay.
After three quarters, the Buccaneers led 31-0 and would defeat the Eagles 31-15 in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
Tom Brady completed 29-of-37 passes in the game for 271 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.
With the win, Tampa Bay will host the winner of Cardinals-Rams in the divisional round, while the Eagles go home and think about next season.
In his first career playoff start, the 23-year-old Jalen Hurts, the youngest Eagles quarterback to start a playoff game, struggled. He was 23/43 for 258 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions. Many of those 258 yards came when the game was out of reach.
“We didn’t do our jobs good enough, I didn’t do my job good enough – communicating and doing the little things,” Hurts said. “I could have been better, definitely, and I think there are a ton of different areas where we can kind of shoulder this as a team, but I take accountability for my actions and everything.”
The biggest question for the Eagles coming into the season, and the biggest question as the season ends, is Hurts, the team’s franchise quarterback. The second-year quarterback got a ringing endorsement from his head coach postgame.
“Again, we’re all going to say for today’s game he didn’t play his best game, as we all know,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said. “But you don’t take the body of work that he had for 17 weeks – and I know he didn’t play two games, so 15 weeks – and put everything on this game. I know we’re all judged on the last game that we play, I understand that and fully get that, but I felt like Jalen grew throughout the year, and he got better as a passer, and he got better reading the defenses, getting the ball to the right place.
“He developed so much in his ability to extend plays of not only making plays with his feet but also making plays downfield on the scramble. I know the one today; he scrambled and threw the interception. He had some other scrambles that were good throws. So, I feel really good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position. I thought he had a great year, and he came a long way, and that’s what I expect from Jalen because of the type of football character he has, the type of character he has, the toughness that he has, the love for football that he has. I can’t say enough good things about Jalen, the person, and the player, so I feel good about him. I know again, this wasn’t the game that any of us are going to be satisfied with – me, him, multiple guys on that football team, but I’m really pleased with how he came along this year and the leader he is on this football team.”
Despite the loss, Hurts feels the future is bright in Philadelphia.
“I’m not going to make any expectations for anything, but I know for us as a football team, the sky is the limit,” Hurt said. “And I’ll reiterate, nobody likes this feeling. Nobody likes this feeling. Nobody likes this feeling. We’ll do the things we need to do so we don’t feel this feeling again. I think with the guys that we have, especially in the youth, the young guys we have, we’re hungry. We’re going to come back hungry, but this season was far from a failure. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it. So, we’ll take it as a lesson; I’ll definitely take it as a lesson. My third year starts tomorrow.”
The Eagles’ 2021 NFL season was a success, but Philadelphia will have an interesting offseason. They have three first-round picks in the upcoming draft. Do they use those assets to trade for a quarterback, or do they use them to build a team around Hurts?
After the way he played against Tampa Bay, there will be questions about Hurts, and the Eagles will have to answer those questions in the offseason.
The NFL announced Sunday night the schedule of sites, dates, and times for the Divisional Playoffs on January 22-23.
Saturday, January 22:
AFC: 4:30 PM (ET) Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (CBS, Paramount+)
NFC: 8:15 PM (ET) San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (FOX, FOX Deportes)
Sunday, January 23:
NFC: 3:00 PM (ET) Arizona Cardinals or Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(NBC, Peacock, Universo)
AFC: 6:30 PM (ET) Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (CBS, Paramount+)
The New York Giants fired head coach Joe Judge, the team announced Tuesday.
The Giants were 4-13 in 2021 and ended the season on a six-game losing streak.
In two seasons, the 40-year-old Judge had a 10-23 record.
On Monday, senior vice president and general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement following a 35-year career in the National Football League.
“Steve (Tisch) and I both believe it is in the best interest of our franchise to move in another direction,” said team president John Mara. “We met with Joe yesterday afternoon to discuss the state of the team. I met again with Joe this afternoon, and it was during that conversation I informed Joe of our decision. We appreciate Joe’s efforts on behalf of the organization.
“I said before the season started that I wanted to feel good about the direction we were headed when we played our last game of the season. Unfortunately, I cannot make that statement, which is why we have made this decision.
“We will hire a general manager, and that person will lead the effort to hire a new head coach.”
Added Tisch, “It is an understatement to say John and I are disappointed by the lack of success we have had on the field. We are united in our commitment to find a general manager who will provide the direction necessary for us to achieve the on-field performance and results we all expect.”
Before joining the Giants, Judge was the special teams coordinator for the New England Patriots and spent eight seasons in the Patriots’ organization.
After the way this season ended for the Giants, Judge being relieved of his duties is not surprising.
The Giants needed to overhaul the organization, and they have done that in the last two days.